To call your spine hard working would be a bit of an understatement. As the foundational structure of your entire musculoskeletal system, your spine carries the heaviest load. Over time, this hard work can take its toll and cause degenerative changes in your spine that narrow your spinal canal and, more importantly, pinch sensitive nerve roots.
Called spinal stenosis, this condition affects about 11% of older adults in the United States. If you find yourself in this group and you’re struggling with discomfort, the team here at Advanced Spine Care and Pain Management wants you to know that relief is available, and it doesn’t have to come at the edge of a knife.
In the following, we explore three nonsurgical treatment options for the symptoms of spinal stenosis.
First, the symptoms of spinal stenosis
We’ve referenced the symptoms, and those who have spinal stenosis understand how frustrating they can be. When you have spinal stenosis, the nerve compression not only leads to considerable pain in the immediate area, but symptoms can also radiate down the length of the compromised nerve. Making matters more complicated, pain isn’t the only symptom, as you can also develop distal numbness, tingling, and weakness.
In most cases, the stenosis develops in areas of your spine that work the hardest — your neck and your lower back. When the stenosis is in your neck (cervical spine), symptoms can radiate down into your arms and hands. When the problem is in your lower back (lumbar spine), symptoms can travel down into your buttocks and legs.
The good news in all of this is that spinal stenosis generally responds well to nonsurgical treatment.
Your noninvasive options for spinal stenosis
If, like many others, you don’t want to potentially add to the problem with spine surgery, there are effective nonsurgical options for treating spinal stenosis, including:
Managing the discomfort
We understand that your top priority is to better manage the discomfort, and we can help with prescription medications, medical marijuana, and/or joint injections.
If you’re leery of medications, an interventional injection, such as an epidural steroid injection, selective nerve root block, or facet joint block may be preferable. These injections provide pain relief and reduce inflammation.
Medical marijuana is a more systemic approach that works with the endocannabinoid system in your body to reduce the pain signaling.
Strengthening your foundation
Once we relieve the pain, it’s important to take long-term steps to improve your symptoms, namely physical therapy (PT). Through targeted strengthening and flexibility exercises, the goal of PT is to take the pressure off of your spine and the compressed nerve, providing you with more durable protection against spinal stenosis symptoms.
You can also make some lifestyle changes that will improve your symptoms. At the top of the list is losing weight (if you’re carrying extra pounds). We also suggest that you pay close attention to your posture, whether you’re sitting or standing.
You also may want to explore alternative treatments, such as acupuncture or chiropractic care.
To get started on the road to relief from your spinal stenosis, please contact us by clicking on the “request appointment” button or by calling one of our offices in Staten Island or Hartsdale, New York.